Doctor Who has always been my first Sci Fi love and although my passion for it as a franchise has cooled significantly since the reboot with Christopher Eccleston, the classic Doctors will always have a place in my heart(s) . So it is with much rejoicing that I begin to read Paul Cornell‘s Heralds of Destruction.
Paul Cornell is a stalwart of Whovian fiction, he’s been writing Who since I was growing up in the wilderness years, starting with the Virgin New Adventure series – telling the ongoing stories of the Seventh Doctor and created the popular character of Bernice Summerfield, written audioplays for Big Finish Productions and screenplays for the new Doctor Who series.
The writing and artwork by Christopher Jones evoke Jon Pertwee’s era perfectly, the dandified, elegant Doctor in flamboyant velvet jack and ruffled tuxedo shirt complete with silk lined opera cloak is present and correct. So too are The Master, The Brigadier – in fact the whole classic UNIT team, from Sergeant Benton to Mike Yates make an appearance. This truly is Titan comics picking up from where the BBC left off in the glory days of 1973.
The story is set after the Time Lords give The Doctor his knowledge of Time Travel and his TARDIS dematerialisation circuit back when he and his former selves helped defeat Omega in The Three Doctors. This story sees The Doctor and Companion Jo Grant firmly on Earth, with Cyberman -like creatures attacking the town of Fairford, the Master appears to upset The Doctor’s plans and a blast from the Doctor’s past reappears as the main antagonist.
Cornell weaves an impressive story which doesn’t wallow in nostalgia, he brings a modern dynamism to the 1970’s era and combined with the beautifully detailed and recognisable artwork make this a captivating read. There’s cleverly inspired scenes which set up later events in this era – including nods to Mike Yate’s eventual deceit and treachery in the Invasion of the Dinosaurs story, and a familiar face who points to a family involvement in modern-day UNIT.
As stated before Christopher Jones does an amazing job of capturing the characters perfectly. My personal favourite was his take on Roger Delgado’s Master and colourist Hi-Fi brings out some of the most (suitably) psychedelic moments during the middle issue.
There’s rumours that this is Cornell’s last story involving our beloved Time Lord. I will truly be sorry to see this man finally leave his quill at the side of the desk when it comes to Who fiction. His mastery of the characters and innovation gave me much pleasure when I was starting on my journey to becoming a Whovian when at school and having no Doctor Who on television – it was writers like Paul Cornell, John Peel, Andrew Cartmel and Jim Mortimore who introduced me to him.
This is a compilation released by Titan and is available at the links below